Improvisation Workshop with Richard Fitzgerald

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Our March program is an Improvisation Workshop with Richard K. Fitzgerald.  I met Richard about a year ago through our mutual friend Richard Thompson (guild member). Richard is a world-class performer, teacher, and improvisor – we’re very excited to have him in residency for the March program!  He has requested to have a few volunteers to work with at the workshop.  If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact me as soon as possible via the contact information listed at the bottom of this article.  Also, if anyone would like to have a private lesson with him while he is in town, please contact me as soon as possible to schedule the lesson.  It is important for each of us to take advantage of these accessible opportunities for professional development!

Richard has extensive experience in teaching, performing, and as a church musician.  He is the Associate Director of Music at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. From 2003 to 2007, Richard served the Basilica of the National Shrine as the Assistant Director of Music. Other positions Richard has held in the Washington, DC area have been Church of the Resurrection (Catholic), Burtonsville, MD where he was the principal organist and St. Bernadette Catholic Church, Silver Spring, MD where he was the director of music and organist.

In October of 2013 Richard won first prize in the 2nd Annual Competition in Organ Improvisation sponsored by the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, Richard taught organ improvisation at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore, MD, as part of the Resources for the Contemporary Church Musician course offering. As a doctoral student at Peabody, Richard prepared his dissertation on a method for organ improvisation pedagogy. Richard has presented entirely improvised performances at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (Wilmington, Delaware) and National City Christian Church (Washington, DC) and will present another all-improvised performance at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Layfayette Square (Washington, DC) on January 8th, 2014. Richard has studied improvisation with Ronald Stolk and has received coaching from Rachel Laurin, Peter Latona, and Jeffrey Brillhart.

Richard has published choral pieces with GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago, Illinois. His compositions appear in the Evoking Sound Choral Series, James Jordan, Executive Editor. He has received commissions and his work has earned him favorable reviews in such periodicals as The Hymn, Choir and Organ, Pastoral Music, and The American Organist. Richard’s Mass in Honor of Saint Bernadette, a setting for organ and congregation of the ICEL ©2011 translation of the mass, has been published on the Corpus Christi Watershed website. 

An experienced recitalist, Richard has performed at such venues as St. Mary the Virgin Anglo-Catholic Church (Manhattan, New York City), the Princeton University Chapel (Princeton, NJ), The Franciscan Monastery (Washington, DC), The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC), and National City Christian Church (Washington, DC). In March 2008, Richard made a debut performance on Pipedreams (American Public Media) in a program entitled The American Muse in which he performed a work by American composer Kevin Daly.                                  

Richard received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, where he was a student of John Walker. He was awarded a full scholarship as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Music Theory at Peabody, where he assisted composer Dr. Joel Puckett. He holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. While at Westminster, Richard sang with the Westminster Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt.  


Phone: 618-975-5709

Stephen Eros

Sub Dean


Improvisation Workshop

Location & Directions

First Congregational United Church of Christ

6501 Wydown Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63105


Monday, March 24th, 2014


Dinner – 6:30pm; Workshop – 7:30pm


Ron Hall


Dinner $10 with a reservation; $12 at the door


Kathleen Bolduan (314-725-1251 or

Please confirm reservation by Wednesday, March 19th


From I-64 E:  Take the exit onto S. Big Bend Blvd.  Turn left onto S. Big Bend Blvd.  Turn right onto Wydown Blvd.  Make a u-turn at at University Lane.  The church is on your right.

From Illinois (I-64 W): Take Exit 34B onto Clayton Rd./Skinker Blvd.  Turn right onto S. Skinker Blvd.  Turn left onto Wydown Blvd.  The church is on the right side of the street.